Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All My Life

Cheryl Cole's Fight For This Love samples K Ci & Jojo's gorgeous ballad All My Life. It would be nice if their song was a download hit again on the strenght of the success of Cheryl's song. Maybe even Shayne Ward too! Here's K Ci & Jojo's All My Life which will be 12 years old this December. And Shayne's version from his debut album. Which isn't very old at all.

Champaign

In May 1981 this got to number 5 in the UK charts. Here's a real late night radio song, Champaign and How 'Bout Us.

Pebbles

Several times when I post an old song that I love I often wish that the people who read my blog now could have been able to listen to my radio show back in the mid 1980s here in Ireland. Many of the albums that I bought on CD over the years are ones I had on vinyl back in the 1980s. One album that I played many songs from on my show was Pebbles self titled album. It featured Girlfriend her most famous song which got to number 5 in the US and number 8 in the UK. I love that song but that isn't my favourite. The follow up single Mercedes Boy is. It got to number 2 in the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1988 making it her biggest hit ever. I think it is a perfect R'n'B pop song. I thought Pebbles was so gorgeous. She had perfect attitude, no nonsense, sheer fabulous. The other songs that I liked on the album the most were Slip Away and Baby Love. Do Me Right and Take Your Time were also singles from her first album. Check them out if you can. Pebbles also had a great single in 1990 called Giving You The Benefit. Janet Jackson was the queen of that type of R'n'B pop back then but you can see a lot of an artist like Pebbles in other groups like Destiny's Child in the later 2 decades. Pebbles is now Perri Nixon. She went on to create TLC, marry and separate from the music producer L.A. Reid and become a Christian minister called Sister Perri. Lots more about her here. Mercedes Boy is now 21 years old. Like all my favourite songs I will never grow tired of hearing it. Here's the album version which is almost 5 minutes long. It includes the car starting up intro and a great male backing vocal later on.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Last Dance

For the past few months I've been posting a write up on the weekly Irish singles chart. I've always wondered if this was ok to do, copyright etc. Well, as it turns out it isn't. In order to do so a blogger needs permission and also pay an annual fee. That fee is several hundred euro a year. I am allowed to make a link to the IRMA chart which really isn't the same so I've decided that I'm not going to continue it. I always felt that I was in a way assisting the IRMA chart by highlighting the few Irish music acts in the singles chart. I firmly believe that without hit singles a singer or band will never go beyond the album artist only category. Hit singles make people go to gigs and concerts not just now but for the years to come. The Irish singles chart is actually full of pop music at the moment but it is nearly all American and UK music acts. Ireland is a very small country but in regards to pop music, what is in the chart doesn't reflect what the majority of people like, listen to and buy. If you would like to see what's selling in Ireland every week do google IRMA and charts. The site includes singles, albums and music DVD sales. The chart comes out on a Friday. Last week there was a technical difficulty so it came out on Monday and that's how Cheryl got to number 13 already. I've really enjoyed writing about the Irish chart but like the little ice man up above, nothing lasts forever.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Most Of These Songs Have Something In Common

Strange things are happening in the Irish charts. The IRMA chart is usually available on line on a Friday but was only there today, Monday. The new chart is dated October 15th but a song that was released (according to it's wikipedia page) on the 16th has charted already at number 13. That song is Cheryl Cole's new pop anthem Fight For This Love. But whatever the reason that happened all is good! There are a wonderful 11 new entries in the chart but they are not all brand new songs. That's still over one in every five songs and it all makes the chart a little bit more interesting. Without X Factor, shown here in Ireland on both UTV and TV3 the IRMA chart would truly be a whole lot less poppy. Alexandra and Flo Rida's Bad Boys is number one, and the other 3 brand new songs in the top ten; Robbie's Bodies at 3, Miley's Party In The USA at 5 and Michael Buble's Haven't Met You Yet have all been X Factor guest stars. And that's just the top ten. Here the IRMA chart for week dated October 15th. 1(-): Bad Boys - Alexandra Burke featuring Flo Rida 2(1): I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas 3(-): Bodies - Robbie Williams 4(2): She Wolf - Shakira 5(-): Party In The USA - Miley Cyrus 6(3): Sexy Bitch / Chick / Auld Wan- David Guetta featuring Akon 7(4): Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz 8(5): Empire State Of Mind - Jay Z featuring Alicia Keys 9(7): Oopsy Daisy - Chipmunk 10(-): Haven't Met You Yet - Michael Buble The other new entries include Irish band Identity Parade and Kicking Stones which is their second and biggest hit this year. Cheryl's Fight For This Love is at 13. Hmmm! Big Pink's Dominos, which I did a post on last week, is new at 25. Black Eyed Peas are brand new at 27 with Meet Me Halfway, perfectly timed as I Gotta Feeling finally falls to number 2. Danyl and his version of And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going To Leave The Gender Of This Song Title Untouched puts Jennifer Hudson's powerhouse version in the chart at 37, it's first time in the IRMA chart. Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons' charts at 49 and the 11th brand new entry, this time of an old song, is Leona's Footprints In The Sand. How high will Happy chart next month! Whitney's Million Dollar Bill is climbing again since Sunday night's X Factor but for now she's at number 40 in Ireland, a climb of 5. Beyonce's Brokenhearted Girl climbs to 33 from last week's 39 which isn't too bad for a very dull song.. Saturdays Forever Is Over drops to 15 already but that's mainly due to the 4 new entries in the top ten and the release of their album. Paulo Nutini, primarily an album artist in Ireland has the biggest drop as Last Request falls 20 places to 28. The songs I don't cover are mainly ones that have fallen down the chart and it shows the amount of songs doing so each week as they stay in the chart. JLS incidently are at number 39 with Beat Again which is now 14 weeks in the Irish Top 4o and Madonna's Celebration is at 23, it's 11th week in the chart. Both positions showing the respective artists popularity here in Ireland. Cheryl Cole's Fight For This Love is easily my most favourite song in the chart. Especially after the week it has been with the coverage of Stephen Gately death and funeral, I don't think there's a greater pop song title that gives the man himself and his husband Andrew tribute. For all the times that Stephen was in the IRMA chart as an artist over the years this week's very poppy chart is dedicated to him. The photo of Cheryl above was used on the cover of the Sunday Times magazine recently and here she is with the properly amazing Cahill Club Mix of Fight For This Love.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Whitney & Akon

Whitney Houston plays Dublin's O2 on April 17th 2010. I hope her X Factor appearance this coming weekend is amazing. I Look To You is an album full of good pop and r'n'b and her collaboration with Akon on Like I Never Left is one of my most played songs on the album. It is one of the most obvious choices as a future single.
Here it is.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Then Sings....

Susan Boyle's debut album I Dreamed A Dream is released on November 23rd in the UK and the next day in the US. I assume it will be released on the 20th in Ireland as new albums come out here on a Friday. The track list for I Dreamed A Dream was released recently and the list below is taken from the Digital Spy website. The songs are:
  • Wild Horses
  • I Dreamed A Dream
  • Cry Me A River
  • How Great Thou Art
  • You'll See
  • Daydream Believer
  • Up To The Mountain
  • Amazing Grace
  • Who I Was Born To Be
  • Proud
  • The End of The World
  • Silent Night
I already love her version of Wild Horses. Cry Me A River is, I assume, that great song of long, long ago not Justin. You'll See is the Madonna song which could be very amazing indeed. You almost feel that Susan Boyle actually had some choice in the songs chosen as there are songs that you could imagine her loving and been singing for years. This album is really aimed at a certain but also very wide market. The one song that stood out for me on the track list was How Great Thou Art. It instantly made me think of being a very young child and associating it with one of my grandparents. I think that song will 'get' people the most, more so than Amazing Grace which has been on so many pop and r'n'b albums over the years. I was born Catholic, like most of Ireland. As I grew up I have had less respect for the catholic church but as I grew older I almost have more respect for people's spiritually. If someone believes in someone up there then as long as that person is not racist, sexist, homophobic or just mean then that is fine by me. I think that is the difference from a fundamentalist belief. My own parents don't go to church as much as they used to but when they do I respect that. I'm a bit of a candle lighter and always light as many candles as possible when I'm in a church , on purpose but with good intent. It's not catholic it's just me. I think spirituality is a very personal thing. It is like something gay (or straight) people never really address but for me living your life is what being spiritual means. Reading How Great Thou Art as a song included on an album that will be one of the biggest sellers in 2009 made me think about that tonight. Looking up who else sang the song I realised that it is the version by Elvis that many people will know the most. It reminds people of parents and grandparents. Looking further I found Carrie Underwood sing the song and her version is below. It does not matter if the song is religious or spiritual or whatever but the fact that the song is powerful in that it touches some emotion, some memory in us. It sort of comforts and makes you want to break down at the same time. Maybe it's just me, I had a bit of a cry listening to it this evening! I had a few really lovely comments from friends, old and new, on recent blog posts so I've decided that I'm going to mix up the posts here again and write more from the heart. I hope someone is minding Susan Boyle, that the next step in fame will be okay for her. I look forward to hearing her album and in the meantime here is my favourite American Idol winner, Carrie Underwood and her version of How Great Thou Art.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mini Viva: Showing Out

Mini Viva's I Left My Heart In Tokyo is very slowly climbing the Irish singles chart, they are currently at number 23 up from 31 last week. The song is pure pop bubble gum. I first heard it on the Chris Evans show many weeks ago on my friend Brian's car radio as we drove to Dublin from Belfast. It was an experience. Enduring the Chris Evans show that is. Pete Hammond has a very dancey retro mix of the song which basically mashes up Showing Out (Get Fresh At The Weekend) by Mel & Kim, which was one of SAW's finest pop moments. Here's that mix.
And here's the wonderful Mel & Kim, two of pop's best stars ever. Mel was another popstar gone too soon.

When Kelly Wasn't Dancing

Kelly Osborne is currently starring in Dancing with The Stars in the US and is still there a few weeks in. Her daddy Ozzy was in Dublin last weekend and he had a crowd queuing down the street at Easons bookshop in the city centre. I never liked the Osbournes TV show and for the most part Sharon always annoyed me and over the years Kelly too. But she was really just a child when the show started and has truly grown up in a goldfish bowl. I hated her Papa Don't Preach cover but she had a great pop moment. It was in April 2005 when she released the single One Word. It was the remix by Chris Cox that I liked so much, playing it over and over on Last.FM when Last.FM was my OCD of the week. That remix made it to number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay chart. The single also got to number 9 in the UK charts and number 19 in Ireland. It's mad to think the song is 4 and a half years old already! One Word works really well because it borrowed so much from the song Fade To Grey by Visage which is truly one of the best songs that made the 1980s what it was. Later the song writing credits on One Word acknowledged this fact. The video for the song was fab too with French New Wave director Jean Luc Goddard the main influence. Kelly dear! Come back to dance. Here's the video featuring the gorgeous remix by the clever Mr Chris Cox.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Whitney's been Freemasoned!

Whitney is on X Factor next Saturday and Million Dollar Bill is new in the UK singles chart at number 12 which makes me v happy. If you live in Ireland her interview with Oprah is on TV3 next week too, Wednesday at 9pm. Million Dollar Bill has been given the Freemason remix treatment and by the second listen I loved it. Here's the full 8 minutes and 10 seconds of it.

A Moment

10 years ago I worked in a cinema here in Dublin. I still know people from that job such as Sinead, Orla and Tara. Even recently I have come back in contact with people that I worked with while there. It was a busy cinema so every day you would see hundreds of people. Regular cinema goers. Sometimes well known people would come in such as Noel and Liam Gallagher, Brendan Gleeson or The Edge. One pay I was standing collecting the tickets for the screens on one side of the foyer. A young man passed me with his head down and went back into a screen where a movie was playing. I glanced at him and I thought 'that's a nice looking gay man'. It wasn't that he was obviously gay (I hate that term), it's just that sometimes gay men just know other gay men. I didn't realise who it was until he had passed me by. That guy was Stephen Gately. Years later when he was on TV in a show or was doing well in London I would think of that single moment. I was never a fan of Boyzone but I loved Working My Way Back To You their debut song here in Ireland. I have always liked Stephen Gately as a gay man who is just himself. I always thought he has a great element of respect and dignity about him. I think Mark from Westlife has as well. Today I read of him being referred to as 'gentle'. Stephen Gately was not a stereotypical gay man and the media dosen't always know how to protray gay men who are actually the most typical of anyone we all know, our gay friends and family members. Yes, he was a performer on stage and some of Boyzone's dance routines are very naff but there were five of them up there on stage all doing the same thing. When they reformed I saw them at an Irish awards show with my friend Connell, they did a melody and they were simply great fun. On a day like today it doesn't matter if you liked Boyzone's music or not, the tragic thing is that a young man has died. It is now several years since Stephen came out as a gay man and since then we have come a long way here in Ireland in relation to how gay men and women live their lives and because of Irish gay people like campaigner Suzy Byrne, politican David Norris, Mark Feehily, superstar Panti, Stephen Gately and most of all ourselves we are now a proud nation. Last year I had extra respect for Stephen and Boyzone when the video for Better was released. In it all the band members have a respective partner and Stephen's partner was not female but is male. I watched it again tonight and felt very moved. Both Ronan's and Stephen's vocals really suited the song, a cover of the Tom Baxter original. The video is here. God bless, Stephen.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Love....

Looking up information on worldwide chart positions of songs that I love, it is always a buzz to see that some songs charted the highest in Ireland. In 1991 Martika's Love...Thy Will Be Done got to number 8 here. It was a number 10 hit in the US and number 9 in the UK. Ireland was the song's second highest chart position as it was also a number one in Australia which is v lovely. Love...Thy Will Be Done followed great Martika's singles like Toy Soldiers and I Feel The Earth Move. The album it came from was called Martika's Kitchen and it's title track was v poppy and crazy. It was written by Prince and also by Martika so I assume that is why it is still on Youtube. I have always liked her name. If I ever had children (not!) I would name them Martika and Solange Minogue. They would stand out in the telephone directory. Incidentally, Sandra Bernhard had a very funny Martika moment in her glorious Without You I'm Nothing performance movie. Does anyone remember it! Here's the video for Love...Thy Will Be Done.

In 1989 Duran Duran released this beautiful song

Duran Duran will always be one of my favourite pop groups. You all know I love their singles and also The Chauffeur very much. Here's a song that was on the Big Thing album in 1989. It got to number 30 in the UK. The video is hypnotic and beautiful and features just John, Nick and Simon as the other Taylors; Andy and Roger, were elsewhere in the world of pop at the time. I think Nick Rhodes looks amazing in it. This is Do You Believe In Shame.

Going Down The Irish Indie Pop Road Yet Again!

2009 continues to be a good year for Paulo Nutini here in Ireland, he is the highest new entry in the IRMA chart charting at number 10 with Last Request. One place ahead at 9 is Ian Carey Project's Get Shaky, which i still like a lot. The top six remains exactly the same as last week. 1(1): I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas 2(2): She Wolf - Shakira 3(3): Sexy Chick - David Guetta featuring Akon 4(4): Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz 5(5): Empire State Of Mind - Jay Z featuring Alicia Keys 6(6): Run This Town - Jay Z featuring Rihanna & Kanye West 7(8): Hotel Room Service - Pitbull 8(7): Boys & Girls - Pixie Lott 9(14): Get Shaky - Ian Carey Project 10(-): Last Request -Paulo Nutini Basshunter is the only song to climb more than one or two places as Every Morning moves up to 17 from 24 last week. There are 7 new entries on the rest of the top 50 which is pretty ok I think. At 13 is the second highest new entry, Lover by Heirs To Nothing. This is a song I liked a few moments into hearing it for the first time this evening. The band, pictured above, have a very handsome lead singer and they are from Offaly, here in Ireland. With so few Irish artists on the national chart it's v positive to see new music chart. As long as there are good solid songs like it in the Irish chart I will always highlight them here. Following Coronas Listen Dear, a new entry last week, that's two good irish indie pop songs charting at the moment. The other new entries on the IRMA chart this week include: Paloma Faith's New York charts at 19 which is at number 15 in the UK. Veronicas finally follow up their massive hit Untouched with 4ever charting at 20. The American hit Good Girls Go Bad by Cobra Starship is new at 33. Naturi Naughton's Fame charts at 37 and it was also the number one movie in Ireland last week. Dance music always charts in Ireland so no surprises to see Tiesto & Sneaky Sound System at 42 with I Will Be There. Not so good for Jordin Sparks who charts very low at 47 with SOS (Let The Music Play). Here's Heirs To Nothing and Lover, brand new at 13.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sad Eyes

Thirty years ago, this week, in October 1979 this song was number one on the Billboard charts in America. This is one of the best of the 1970's. Robert John and Sad Eyes.